Album: Pacific Surf Line
Label: Alive Naturalsound
Release Date: 10/16/2015
Breaking away from his efforts as a sideman with the Chris Robinson Brotherhood and his ongoing efforts as part of Ryan Adams’ backing band, the Cardinals, Neal Casal can now boast a new supergroup of sorts, one which goes by the collective handle GospelbeacH. Their illuminating debut, Pacific Surf Line, conveys a style that bears testimony to the album title, a series of sun-drenched, softly shimmering Southern California rock tunes that pay due reverence to both the Beach Boys and Neil Young in nearly equal measure. The dreamy designs soaked through songs like “Sunshine Skyway” and “Southern Girl” boast the breezy aural imagery of a hazy Pacific sunset, while the infectious rhythms that accompany “California Steamer” and the cleverly titled “Out of My Mind (On Cope and Reed)” invoke a kind of carefree indulgence that could easily have wafted out of Laurel Canyon circa 1969. Indeed, the entire album comes across as a time warp of sorts, a brilliant paean to pure, hippy happenstance.
After spending years in the service of others and procuring his solo work on the side, Casal’s prodigious efforts deserve far more attention than he’s attained thus far. If justice is to be served at all, those individual outings ought to propel him front and center. Indeed, with the brilliant GospelbeacH, it’s reasonable to expect that prayer will be answered soon.
– Lee Zimmerman